The #AtlHawks may have in #TimHardawayJr , the next great #NBA Sixth man. His improved play has been outstading the last two months He’s been red hot in the Hawks last 10 games, averaging over 17 Pts per contest. This includes 33 in a big road win vs the Rockets and 36 in a tough loss at home to the Cavs. His recent stats compare favorably to 3 time 6th man of the year Jamal Crawford of the Clippers in the years he won. In fact hs current pace of 19 pts per 36 minutes is the same as Crawford when he won last season.
Unfortunately for Atlanta there are 2 problems.
- Hardaway wants to start. He mentioned in a Detroit Free Press article ‘he hopes to become a full time starter’ The numbers seem to agree according to ESPN.com In the 17 games he started he’s averaging 17.2 points per game. In the 42 coming off the bench he has averaged 11.8 . In fairness, this is due more to minutes played per game. 33 per as starter, 22 per coming in off the bench. For Hardaway and the Hawks he is at his best when he plays between 30-36 minutes a game. This year he sits at a bifty 19 pts per 36 minutes played That is the same as the teams leading scorer Paul Millsap He also averages 3 more points per game than starter Kent Bazemore who the Hawks just signed to big deal after last season
- MONEY. Hardaway will bcome a restricted free agent next year. His vastly improved play surely has caught the eye of several teams around the league. Hawks mangement may have erred in not signing him to an extension when they had chance earlier in year. Although the team has right to match any offer, Atlanta faces the prospect of paying a lot more for his sevices. This may pur him above the threshold of what Atlanta wants to pay to keep him especialy with having All Star Paul Millsap contract also coming due for a hefty increase
Several years ago the Hawks had an exciting player coming off the bench. and a multi time All Star on the team becoming free agents. They said they could only pay out one big contract not two. They resigned their All Star guard at the time Joe Johnson, the other player was allowed to be a free agent and he signed with the LA Clippers. That player was Jamal Crawford. He has gone on to win 2 of his 3 Sixth Man of the Year awards since his time there. He won his 1st one in Atlanta the year before he left in free agency.
Being in just his 3rd year, and 24 years old it seems like the career of Tim Hardaway, Jr is certainly on the rise. Hopefully Atlanta will find a way to keep him here.